On-campus testing dates and times can be found by clicking here.

Language Assessments: FAQ

Why a world language requirement?

As stated on the website of the Core Curriculum, “Learning another language encourages engagement with other cultures and enhances one’s ability to participate meaningfully in local, national, and international settings.  Advanced proficiency in a second language also deepens one’s understanding of multiple worldviews and historical perspectives.  Elon’s language requirement represents the first step towards acquiring the level of proficiency that the Department of World Languages and Cultures provides.” Students are required to demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level (completion of the elementary level) or above in a language other than their native language in order to graduate from Elon.

In what language(s) should I take the exam?

You must take the exam in at least one language you have studied. You are encouraged to take the exam in all the language(s) that you have studied. If you plan to start a new language, we still need a placement score for the language that you did study.  If you were admitted with a foreign language deficiency and/or did not study a foreign language in high school for any reason, please send an email to languages@elon.edu to explain your situation. Type in the subject line “language deficiency” or “no high school language”.

Why this exam, and how does it work?

Elon’s Department of World Languages helps place incoming students in appropriate language courses. We take into account the number of classes and experiences you have previously had in the language. But, placement on that basis ignores factors that can determine your actual facility: the effectiveness of your past coursework, the specific information covered, or out-of-class exposure to the language.

The majority of our placement exams are “adaptive,” which means the test selects each question based on the answer to the previous question. If you answer an item correctly, a more difficult question is presented; if you answer one incorrectly, an easier question is given. This process accurately assesses your level, typically in 15 to 30 minutes.

When should I take the exam?

All new first-year and transfer students are advised to take the test by the end-of-May deadline (Saturday 25 May by 11:59 p.m. E.D.T. for 2019) indicated in the email from the Admissions Office. Timely completion is essential to help the Center for Academic Support and Academic Advising create your fall schedule, and to indicate whether you have met the language proficiency requirement. To be fully assured of placement in the appropriate class during your first year at Elon, the placement test needs to be completed by the end-of-May deadline indicated in the email from the Admissions Office.

If you do not take the placement test by the deadline, you may not be able to enroll in the appropriate class during your first year at Elon. Fall semester language classes, fill up quickly. If the test is taken after the May deadline, the appropriate class may not be available.

If exceptional circumstances keep you from taking the test before the May deadline, the test will again be available during specific times online during the summer and on-campus during the fall semester. See the Language Assessment Dates page for the current testing schedule.

Students who begin their Elon career in the spring should take the exam during the designated time period before the start of the spring semester.

If you have questions, contact the Department of World Languages at languages@elon.edu.

How many times can I take the exam?

You must complete the exam by October 1 of your first year at Elon.  You have two tries (both must be completed by October 1 of your first full year at Elon). The higher score will be recorded.

What if I know more than one foreign language?

You should take the test in each language you know. As indicated above, you can test twice in each language BEFORE OCTOBER 1. So if you know German, Latin, and Italian, you can take the test twice in German, twice in Latin, and twice in Italian.

What does this exam determine?

The language assessment helps determine which course to take if you want to continue with your study of the same language; start studying a new one; or if you need to take a language for your chosen major, minor or to fulfill the graduation requirement. The assessment may also let you place out of the language requirement for graduation.

No matter your situation, you should do the best you can to help us make an accurate assessment.

What happens with my score?

After being approved by the university language assessment coordinator (Dr. Brandon Essary; bessary@elon.edu), your score will be uploaded to the registrar’s database. We upload results at least three times: at the beginning of June, at the end of the first week of fall classes, and at the beginning of October. Only scores that meet our integrity review will be uploaded. For students who enter at mid-year, scores will be uploaded around the second week of spring semester classes.

Can I see my score?

When you’re finished with the exam in French, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish, the testing program will display your score and placement. For French, German, Italian, Russian and/or Spanish, the score will be saved and can be viewed by accessing the WebCape account you created to take the assessment. Latin scores are not automatically  displayed, but the on-campus test proctor and/or the language assessment coordinator (Dr. Brandon Essary; bessary@elon.edu) can help you.

Scores that meet our integrity review will also be posted to OnTrack soon after the dates indicated above.

How do I know whether I placed out of the language requirement?

Look at the raw score and check the placement level for that raw score.  If your placement score puts you into a 200-level course or higher, and it’s approved by the language assessment coordinator, you’ve met the language requirement for graduation.

NOTE: The placement level – not the raw score – must be the 200-level or above. Remember: All scores are subject to our integrity review and are not official until they appear in your academic record.

What do I do if there’s no test for my language?

For now, we have on-line tests only in French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish. For Arabic, Chinese and Hebrew, testing is done on campus only; contact languages@elon.edu for more information. For other languages, email the Department of World Languages and Cultures at languages@elon.edu.

Special notes for international students

“I am an international student whose native language is not English.  Do I need to take the placement exam?”

1. Please complete the information form sent by the Admissions Office!

2. IF you plan to take a course taught in your native language at Elon (e.g. a literature course in French to fulfill the literature requirement in the Core Curriculum; an advanced Spanish course to partially fulfill the Civilization requirement in the Core Curriculum), DO TAKE the language placement exam in your native language.